Sri Lanka trade press for simpler taxes

Jan 30, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lankan trade and tax experts have pressed for further simplification of tax systems, saying that it will help generate more businesses, bringing greater tax revenues for the state and reduce disputes. The existing ruling committee on tax disputes has commissioners of the government’s Inland Revenue Department and takes too long to take decisions.

Although a regulation was introduced to ensure rulings were to be issued within six months, that was too long, Perera said.

“This means you have to hold on to your transactions for six months. Six months is too long. We need decisions at least in one month.”

Perera noted how in a recent case he handled, when after four months he complained the dispute resolution was taking too long, he was told by the authorities “we have two more months.” Sudden changes in taxes were not good for business and quick relief was required in tax disputes to prevent cargo being stuck in port, incurring demurrage and other charges that could serve to discourage investors, they said.

“Sri Lanka is trying to improve its position in the ease of business rankings, so a simplified tax system needed,” Dinesh De Silva, chairman of the Sri Lanka Shippers Council represe